“one of the referees says floresianus actually means ‘flowery anus’ so it should be floresiensis

Tring 8

In a parallel universe I work as a paleoanthropologist, a topic that has fascinated me ever since as a teenager I read Donald Johanson’s account of the discovery of Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis).  At university I took a short human evolution course and could easily have been swayed into doing research in that area were it not for my fascination with plants and ecological interactions (there are also parallel universes in which I’m a marine biologist, palaeontologist, gardener, sound engineer, etc….you get the picture).  I still keep half an eye on the paleoanthropological literature and enjoyed reading this interview on the Nature website with the discoverers of Homo floresiensis, the so-called “hobbit” fossil hominids, which added significantly to our understanding of the biodiversity of the human evolutionary lineage.

The line that “one of the referees says floresianus actually means ‘flowery anus’ so it should be floresiensis“, and some of the other anecdotes, give lovely insights into how science works, and the way it often follows a random, haphazard path, not at all the clear and logical route that non-scientists assume.  And it shows how the peer-review process can pick up and correct errors in a manuscript that could haunt any scientist’s career…..

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4 Comments

Filed under Biodiversity, Evolution, History of science

4 responses to ““one of the referees says floresianus actually means ‘flowery anus’ so it should be floresiensis

  1. Sometimes the review process can be frustrating but it is so great when it makes your papers better! Although I don’t have anything comparable to this kind of thing yet 🙂

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    • Yes, absolutely! One of the reviewers of our 2009 syndromes paper pointed out that the data in the supplementary tables were a complete mess and did not at all reflect what we presented in the paper. I’d uploaded an old version by mistake and I was glad they’d spotted it, though they were fairly brutal about it (“How can we have any faith in the results if the authors can’t even get the basics right?” etc.). It was a fair call….

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  2. Pingback: The biodiversity of the human family tree just got bigger | Jeff Ollerton's Biodiversity Blog

  3. Pingback: Wild speculation: could the Bruniquel Cave Neanderthal structures represent a mammoth? | Jeff Ollerton's Biodiversity Blog

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